Verse to Vision: Recent Oils/Poems
Two poets inspire me, Maj Ragain (1940-) and Janet Lewis (1899-1998.) My affinity to these poets comes from their embrace of the quotidian, Ragain through his relationships with family, store clerks, drunks, jockeys and other sundry characters of Midwestern towns; Lewis through her love of the North Woods, seasons and American Indian lore. Their verse stirs my vision with powerful and expressive images, sometimes whimsical and magical, other times, dark and foreboding. I have collaborated with Ragain on and off for more than a decade. I know Janet Lewis only through her verse in Poems Old and New 1918-19781. (1) Both poets are broadly categorized within the free verse and imagist traditions, but their individual voices strike very different emotional cords. It is their unique cadences and rhythms I wish to translate into paintings that take the “…elements of (their) constructed words into a momentary standstill allowing the viewer a glimpse into what is ultimately too large to see in a single glance”(2 )or, a single reading, I might add. This project, which is in progress, juxtaposes selections of Ragain's and Lewis’ personal poetical “cords” and interweaves them with my personal visual vocabulary.
1. Janet Lewis. Poems Old and New 1918-1978. Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Chicago, IL p 72
2 William Tucker, Catalog Introduction: Verse to Vision- Vision to Verse, Verde Gallery, 2004